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Rents rise as landlords look to sell up

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The average rent in the UK was 0.4 per cent higher in February than last year, according to Your Move data.

However, the firm pointed out that the annual rate of growth has dropped sharply, from the 1.4 per cent registered last month.

As a result the average rent now stands at £861.

The south west saw the fastest rises, with rents jumping by 4 per cent in the year to February, reaching an average of £703. The West Midlands and Yorkshire & Humber saw strong growth too, with rises of 3.1 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively.

Despite this, Yorkshire & Humber remains the second cheapest region in which to rent, with average rents of £588, a little ahead of the North East at £540, a region which saw rents rise by 1 per cent over the year.

At the other end of the scale, London was one of two regions to see annual falls, alongside the East of England. The East saw prices drop 1.8 per cent to an average of £878.

According to Your Move, around 9.4 per cent of all tenancies were behind on their rent, up from the 8.8 per cent in January but down on the 10.5 per cent registered in December.

Martyn Alderton, national lettings director at Your Move, noted that the south west was performing so well in large part due to cities like Bristol, which has seen a boom in build to rent which has driven up both demand and average rents across the area.

He continued: “Private landlords meanwhile have tended to prefer the charms of the north of England, a region where yields are significantly higher than elsewhere. But returns in all regions have remained steady compared with January, meaning landlords across the country have enjoyed solid yields.”

Landlords leaving the market

A separate study from ARLA Propertymark noted there had been an increase in tenants seeing rents rise, with 34 per cent of letting agents witnessing rent increases in February, up from 26 per cent in January.

This is the highest figure since August, when 40 per cent of agents saw landlords hike rents, the largest on record.

However, the firm pointed out there has also been an increase in landlords selling up, with the number of landlords exiting the market rising to an average of four per branch in February, up from three in January.

David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: “The Chancellor’s Spring Statement included a number of initiatives aimed at growing housing stock for buyers, but it didn’t offer any solutions to increase the supply of properties in the private rented sector.

“Unless the Government commits to making the prospect of investing in the PRS more attractive, and introduces measures to increase supply, tenants will only continue to feel the burn.”

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